3M Debuts Border-Crossing Program in Caribbean

Ten Caribbean nations are participating in the program, for which 3M automated a border-crossing process that enables faster and safer travel between them.

Maplewood-based 3M Company said Thursday that it has launched the world's first multilateral border-crossing program.

Those traveling between 10 participating nations in the Caribbean will be able to more quickly and easily navigate between them thanks to a new border security program designed by 3M's security systems division, the company said.

The program, called CariCom (short for Caribbean Community), is a voluntary travel card program. Through it, governments of the 10 participating nations aim to enhance regional security and support expedited travel.

To participate, eligible travelers have to pre-enroll at local immigration or other designated offices, where officials will capture a facial image and two fingerprint images. Each traveler will then receive a 2D barcode that they can use to be electronically processed through self-service border-crossing gates.

Each border-crossing gate is connected to the CariCom system's user database, which opens the gates after matching the user's card to the previously collected biometric data. The gate prints a receipt for each traveler so that he or she can document valid entry.

“This one-of-a-kind program which is premised on the cooperation of multiple sovereign states will help facilitate the efficient movement of travelers, while maintaining a high level of security,” Lynne Anne Williams, executive director of the CariCom Implementation Agency for Crime and Security, said in a statement. “In working with 3M security systems, we were able to achieve a customized solution specific to our security needs and goals. We look forward to future phases of the system and extending it to other CariCom member states.”

3M began creating the CariCom program after successfully implementing a similar system used during the 2007 Cricket World Cup. One of the key components to the new system is 3M's “autogate” solution, which automates the border-clearance process CariCom travelers-thus enabling CariCom officials to focus their time and resources on other travelers who were not thoroughly pre-screened.

3M is among Minnesota's five-largest companies based on revenue, which totaled $26.7 billion in 2010.